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Sugar is delicious, addictive, and fun! But it has another side too. How does sugar affect your teeth over time? And how can you take good care of your teeth, while also enjoying some of your favorites? Understanding how sugar affects your teeth is an important part of good oral hygiene.
How Sugar Is Processed In Your Mouth
When we consume foods with sugar, one way sugar affects your teeth, is when sugar combines with saliva and bacteria. This combination forms a sticky film called plaque, which can soften enamel, and even break through the enamel to dentin and pulp, to form a cavity. Plaque can also irritate gums, causing inflammation and gum disease. If this is left untreated, the gum disease can go from gingivitis to periodontitis, going from mild and easily treated, to more concerning problems with the gums and teeth.
Controlling sugar consumption, and being mindful of the best ways to protect our teeth from sugar and plaque can make a huge difference in oral health.
How to Protect Your Teeth From Sugar
Some basic ways to protect teeth from sugar include diligent oral hygiene and moderate consumption of sugary foods.
Brushing and flossing regularly is one way to protect your teeth from the effects of plaque. It is important to remember that brushing teeth directly after consuming sugar is not the best time to brush. Sugar affects teeth for longer than the moment it comes into contact with them, and it can soften enamel for up to an hour after consuming a sugary substance. Because of this, it may be best to drink water, to flush your mouth of the sugar, as soon as possible. Then, wait an hour to brush and floss your teeth.
Not all sugar is created equal, and some kinds are more destructive than others. Avoiding sugary foods that are sticky, or beverages that contain high amounts of sugars and acids go a long way to protecting your teeth. Soft drinks and energy drinks are some of the items that exacerbate how sugar affects your teeth, and should be avoided.
The best way to protect your teeth from the effects of sugar is to regularly see a dentist for a Teeth cleaning to remove some of the hardest bits of plaque and to identify and treat cavities and gum disease as early as possible. Call our El Paso Dental Office to make an appointment to see a dentist today, and let us help you keep your teeth healthy!